Contributed by Peta Mandleberg


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 600 g Arborio rice
  • 250 ml white vermouth
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
  • 400 g frozen peas
  • 700 ml organic vegetable or chicken stock
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 2 drops Mint Spice Drops
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over at the end
  • Couple of mint leaves for garnish and whole grilled asparagus (optional)


Finely chop your asparagus stalks into 1 cm pieces on the diagonal, keeping the tips whole. Then start making your basic risotto recipe.

Stage 1:
Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the olive oil in a separate large pan, add the onion and celery and cook very gently for about 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the rice and turn up the heat. Coat the rice well and keep stirring until well coated.

Stage 2:
Quickly pour in the vermouth, keep stirring until it has evaporated

Stage 3:
Add the stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Turn the heat down to low so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly and continue to add ladles full of stock until it has all been absorbed. This should take about 15 minutes and give you rice that is a little al dente. Put to one side.

Now put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and pour in half the stock, followed by all your risotto base, frozen peas, the sliced asparagus stalks and the tips. Stirring all the time, gently bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Add the rest of the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice and asparagus are cooked. Be careful not to overcook the rice – check it throughout cooking. It should hold its shape but be soft, creamy and oozy, and the overall texture should be slightly looser than you think you want it.

Turn off the heat, stir in your butter, Mint Spice Drops, Parmesan, almost all the lemon zest and all the juice. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a minute. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a scattering of lemon zest, fresh mint leaves, and whole grilled asparagus and Parmesan cheese as desired.